Why Logan Is the Best Movie This Year

I went to see the new Wolverine movie called, Logan last weekend. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled that we were going but I’m learning that relationships are a lot more  about sacrifice then they are about getting your way, so I went. We sat down in the theater, watched the endless amount of movie trailers, waited as the lights went down and then sat back to enjoy the movie.

By the end of the two hours, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps everywhere else, I was excited, I was heartbroken, I was moved.

It’s rare that I feel this way after a movie. Sure there are movies that make you feel good inside and movies that challenge your brain capacity but rarely do I watch a movie that actually inspires me to do something or pursue my passion.

Now you’re probably wondering how I could be so moved by a movie about a superhero who has metal in his hands, I was surprised too. But while everyone else in the theater was distraught that this was Hugh Jackman’s last Wolverine movie and broken by the plot of it all. My heart was leaping for joy over the character of the little girl, Laur.

Laur reminded me a lot of the kids I’ve met in Haiti and my brothers and sisters in Peru. Laur grew up in a place without affection, she was neglected and abused and because of that she didn’t know how to love someone else.

For the majority of the movie, Laur doesn’t say a word. She is mute. This is common for kids of abuse or neglect. Either they are too far behind developmentally to have any words or they just choose not to speak as a defence mechanism. Some of the kids that come to us in Peru who should have words, don’t and let me tell you, it is a joyous day when you hear them speak or laugh for the first time.

Nurture and love can do wonderful things for a child. It is such a vital part of those early stages of life and if I child misses out on that, it will be a huge challenge for them to catch up to their peers developmentally.

One of the earliest things a baby knows to do when they are born is grasp onto a hand that they’re holding. I remember my brothers having a death grip on my hand when they were babies. Many times when a child is neglected or abused in their early years, they don’t know to do this. There’s a scene in the movie where Laur sees two mannequins holding hands and is confused. Later on in the movie, you can see her development progress to the point where she grabs for Charles’ and Logan’s hand.

I think the thing that got me the most about this movie was how they portrayed Laur’s ability to emote. Many children who have been neglected or abused in their early years don’t know how to cry or laugh, they only can express frustration and therefore scream a lot. For the majority of the movie, Laur can only scream in every situation, when she is happy, sad, scared, frustrated, she just let’s off this ear piercing scream. It’s at the end of the movie right after the climax where she cries for the first time.

I was crying right along with her.

I was crying for her and her story.

I was crying for the children I’ve seen and known that are so much like her.

I was crying for the children that I know are out there who need this love and care to develop properly.

I was crying because I realized again that I need to do something about it.

Three years ago this month Jesus put a passion in my heart to help children like this and to love these kids in such a way that heals their hurt and pain from the past. Jesus keeps reminding me through sermons and verses and pictures and people I meet but He keeps finding new ways.

This time He broke me through a movie, please keep breaking me, Jesus.

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To my sister

Growing up I had two little brothers. Those brothers still exist today, one is 14 and sassy and becoming a man and the other is 8 and crazy and loud.

They’ve been around for my whole life but when I was in my 17th year of life, I started to accumulate more and more brothers and sisters.

These kids were the kids we welcomed into our orphanage. There have been 17 new brothers and sisters in my life in the past two years. Some of them I have known extremely well, some of them are a bit distant from me because I live so far away and I love them all with the same wild and fierce love that I love my biological brothers with.

I feel so lucky to have so many people to love. I feel lucky to have such a big family and blessed that I get to be apart of everyone of their lives.

But today doesn’t feel like a lucky day.

Today, I am sad and I’m learning that it’s okay to be sad in public sometimes and today is one of those days.

Today, my one-year-old little sister got taken away and my heart is broken. There’s a whole back story into why she was taken away from us but I don’t want to get into that, I just want to write about my sister.

Dear Yuri,

I only really got to know your for two weeks, that isn’t a long time. And yes, maybe you weren’t the biggest fan of me and that’s fair, you had no idea who I was.

I had fun with you, Yuri. You are such a sweet girl. Full of smiles and that cute little chuckle.

You know eight words and they melt my heart every time you say them.

Mama

Dada

Chickens

Eggs

Hola

Ciao

Night night

Bubba

You sleep with your eyes open, you love riding around in your big stroller and pushing other people in your little one. You love the cats and try to hold them despite their desperate protests. You love cuddling and just being near people.

For a one-year-old, you’re so good at loving people.

You help calm people down if they’re crying and give them kisses if they’re hurt. You give hugs and smiles that could heal any wound.

Yes sometimes you can be gross, like the time you peed while walking down the hallway naked or them time you stuck your hand in your diaper to reveal that you had pooped.

We thought we’d have you forever, Yuri. But sometimes things change unfortunately so in that case, here are some things I want you to grow up knowing.

You are loved widely and oh, so deeply. You have people all throughout Peru, Canada and the US that love you and want you to succeed. You are loved by our little family more than you could ever imagine and most of all you are loved and known by the maker of your heart. He loves you and knows you deeper than any human could and I pray that you grow up knowing that.

I hope you hear the words, “I love you” every day.

I hope someone reminds you that you’re so, so beautiful.

I hope someone encourages you and reminds you that you are capable of anything.

I hope you know Jesus intimately and fully.

I hope you have a relationship with Him and that you walk with Him daily.

We miss you, Yuri, and because of that, my greatest hope is that we meet again some day.

All of our love forever,

The Blackburns

 

The Worst Form of Torture

I said good-bye to my family today.

Sometimes being a missionary or being connected to people who are missionaries sucks.

Being involved in any type of missions work requires a constant string of awful, heart-wrenching goodbyes.

I’ve decided that saying good-bye is a form of torture.

I’ve been involved in missions for nine years now, I’ve said hello and goodbye to hundreds of people who all have a piece of my heart.

I used to think that leaving and saying the lethal word, “goodbye” would be easier by now but I’m realizing that it always sucks.

Leaving the people you love always hurts you deep. It pierces your heart and makes you feel like the only way to express how you feel is to cry. But you don’t want to cry. You want to be strong for the people you love and let them know that you’re okay.

When I left Cuba for the first time, I sat on my bed and cried for a long time.

When I left Haiti, I cried for a week straight every night.

When I hugged my best friends and left for Peru, I cried as I walked away, forcing myself to not look back cause I knew how badly it would hurt.

When I left my family in May last year, I cried on the plane as I read the letters they had written to me.

When I left Canada two weeks ago, I cried as I walked away from my boyfriend.

Today I cried as my family hugged me goodbye.

Goodbyes never get any easier. We can trick ourselves into saying the cheesy line; “well it’s just a ‘see you later!’” But that doesn’t actually make anything better, it doesn’t take away the pain and the sadness of not being able to see the people you love, to hug them and hear their voice.

For missionaries or for people who have family and friends as missionaries, it’s just as hard to leave and say goodbye on the hundredth time as it was on the first time.

This is my goodbye to you this time Puerto Maldonado, Peru. I love you and I love that you hold my big, wild, crazy family. Until next time.

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Family
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Mom and Dad
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Dad
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Mom
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Little Brothers
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Caleb
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Jaxon
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The Littles: Maricielo, Ruth-Dany & Arnol
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The Big Girls: Cinthya, Aymee & Naisha
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The Babies: Yuri & Stephanie

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When You’ve Been Home for Three Months

I’ve been “home” for three months. That’s such a hard thing to believe, it feels like a million years have passed since I left Peru but at the same time it feels like the past three months have completely flown by.

Being back in the place you used to call home is a whirlwind of emotions.

On one hand you’re so happy to be back, you love the little things that you never appreciated before like hearing English all the time and drinking tap water and going to Walmart and having hot showers. You love seeing your friends and the family that you missed. You love being at the place you are, at camp and at college, and meeting the people there and just having that whole experience. You love the relationships you’ve built and deepened. You love being “home”.

But you’re also sad. You long for that familiarity of your house and your family. You realize that your passport country isn’t really home anymore, everything and everyone has grown up and is so different from when you left it. So you feel homesick and while you really do want to be right where you are, you also yearn for the comfort of home which you come to realize is the place you left three months ago.

You feel torn.

You feel like your heart is in one million places all at once.

Sometimes it’s exhausting and overwhelming and hard to deal with, and it’s hard to imagine a time where living in Canada felt completely normal.

But even through these feelings you know you’re right where you’re supposed to be. It’s hard to explain but that’s what the peace of God is, unexplainable.

You feel like you’ve been given that peace and even though you feel overwhelmed sometimes you know it’s okay and that God’s got this, and that’s enough.

He is always enough.

When You’ve Lost Your Identity

Going back is weird. I don’t really think we were ever meant to go backward which is why going back to the place you once called home feels so overwhelming and strange.

Before I came back to Canada, I didn’t think about how I’d feel when I couldn’t say, “I live in Peru” or when I couldn’t speak Spanish to people or take pictures with my monkey; all things that made me special and different in the eyes of my friends and people from North America. I didn’t think about how that would affect or bother me. But now that I’m home, I’m realizing how much hope I put in those things.

I put so much hope in being “different” that now, being normal makes me sad. This may be conceited but not having those things that make me different is hard to get used to and I’m slowly realizing how unhealthy it was for me to put so much hope and importance onto those things.

My identity should be found in Jesus, I know that in my head and in my heart but time and time again, I find myself putting my identity into other things, things that go away, things that don’t last.

I’m constantly learning that I can’t earn my worth, there’s nothing I could do to make my worth more or less, ever.

The only thing that gives me my worth is Jesus and his unchanging, unconditional, perfect love for me. That is the only thing.

It’s not the wealth I could acquire.

It’s not the things I have.

It’s not the moments I experience.

It’s not even the people I meet.

Because all those things will eventually disappear.

The only thing that will last is Jesus, only Jesus and that’s what I’m holding onto.

So This Is Love

Love.

Love used to be a hard thing for me to understand.

I thought I knew love when I fell head over heels for a boy when I was 12. I thought it was love because I liked the way he looked and because I wanted to hang out with him all the time, but that’s not love.

I thought it was love when I got new clothes or gadgets because I wanted to take care of it and use it all the time, but that wasn’t love either.

I thought it was love when I saw a commercial of a poverty-stricken place and my heart broke, but that wasn’t love because after the commercial ended or the picture passed, I’d go right back to my normal life.

This year, for me, is about grace but I’m learning that love and grace go hand in hand. You can’t have love without grace and you can’t have grace without love, it’s just not possible.

As of Monday, we have 6 kids in our home,

G, an 11-year-old girl,

L a 15-year-old girl,

R, a 9-year-old girl,

A, a 3-year-old boy,

K, a 17-year-old girl

And S, a 2-week-old baby.

We’ve been open since April 5th when G arrived and in this short month, I have learned so much about love and grace.

When I was young, I only knew how to show selfish love, or in other words, show love when you can get something out of it and I think it’s apart of our sinful nature to think this way.

When I met Jesus, I learned about selfless love, love that gives everything up just to make sure others are all right. Since then, I’ve been trying to learn it and practice it.

I’ve seen it in my parents who work tirelessly for my well-being.

In my brothers who defend me and protect me.

In my friends who stay up late just listening to me vent or cry when I’ve had a rough day.

In my Jesus who gave his very own life just to save mine.

But this past month has been wild and it’s shown me, more than ever, what selfless love really looks like in myself and in others.

Selfless love is treating lice and spending hours upon hours picking it out. (Not just once either, over and over and over again.)

Selfless love is washing the sore, covered feet of a child.

Selfless love is waking up in the middle of the night because the kids still aren’t sleeping.

Selfless love is waiting until they fall asleep because the jungle is a scary place if you’re not used to the noises.

Selfless love is still choosing to love even when they do wrong and hurt you.

That’s what love is, it isn’t an emotion like my naïve, young self thought. Love is a verb. It demands action be taken. It requires that something be done or said or practiced. Love is choosing to love every single day, even if you don’t feel like it, if you’re tired or if you just plain angry. True love is fierce and wild and has no restrictions or limits, it just keeps going.

This kind of love is so amazing to me because it doesn’t mean that your life will be sunshine and rainbows, it means quite the opposite really. This kind of love means risking your health, safety, even life but still doing it anyway just because you so desperately want that person to know that they are loved and valued beyond belief.

Selfless love.

I’m still selfish, I’m still failing but I’m also still learning. It may take me my whole life, but for right now I want these kids to know that with every little nit I pull out of their hair, with every foot I wash, with every ridiculous story I listen to that I am doing it because I desperately love them and because I want to show them that Jesus loves them even better than I ever could.

 

 

When “What If” Threatens To Take Over

I live my life in fear of “what-ifs”. I’m sure this isn’t new to anyone, we all wonder about the “ifs” in our lives, and we are in constant fear of them too.

What if I get sick?

What if I get rejected?

What if I get hurt?

What if, what if, what if.

I’m realizing that continually worrying about these situations doesn’t make our lives any better. Worrying about “what ifs” doesn’t protect us from those scenarios, it just makes us more scared. Worrying about the next danger lurking in the shadows makes our lives harder, not easier. It makes it harder to live a full and abundant life and it makes it harder to serve Jesus whole-heartedly.

A majority of the time, I worry about getting some weird illness and sometimes that stops me from loving like I should. But I’m learning that it’s silly to worry because I’ve already been saved. Jesus saved me by His grace when he died on the cross and that isn’t just a one-time thing. He knows about those dangers I can so easily preoccupy myself with and he is going to keep saving me from them through his grace.

Its’ through his grace that I’ve never contracted a parasite when I’ve gone to a foreign country.

It’s through his grace that I’ve never gotten lice while being in such close contact with children who could have it.

It’s through his grace I got accepted into college.

It’s through his grace that I wake up every morning alive and healthy.

His grace isn’t just in the good things either, it’s in the bad just as much as the good. Without him saving me from things I perceived as “good,” I would be in some big trouble right now.

He loves us and he knows us and he’s going to keep saving us.

In light of all this, I’m gonna stop worrying about the “what if’s.”

There’s this quote from my favourite book that I love, it says, “He didn’t love people the way that Hallmarks says to love people, he loved them linebacker style, in a full contact way.”

That’s how I want to love and help people. Full on, without fear of anything that may happen to me because the truth is, when we can fully forget ourselves and our worries and love others first thinking about their needs above our own, beautiful, significant, life-changing things happen and that’s better than any “safe” life I could ever imagine for myself.

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When No One Raises Their Hand

You just finished explaining everything. You just finished telling the group of kids that you’ve come to love so deeply, how much they are loved and wanted by the creator of the universe and you asked if any of them would like to join his family. Then you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Until you realize that what you desperately wanted to happen, isn’t going to happen; no one is going to say, “yes” at this moment, no one is going to raise their hand.

There’s a sadness inside of you that overwhelms you in this moment and your first typical, human instinct is to look inward, selfishly. You think that you screwed up, you didn’t explain the story of Jesus well enough, like it was your job to change their hearts and make them believe in something they didn’t before.

I’m pretty sure this is something that’s happened to everyone who has ever shared the gospel a few times and I believe that it’s something we need to experience at some point, it taught me a lot.

I’m gonna be 100% honest here so watch out.

I want to see people want to follow Jesus and for about an hour after no one raised their hand, I thought it was completely my fault that they weren’t moved to want to follow Jesus. To me, this is inconsiderate. I should have been consumed with sadness simply because they decided not to follow Jesus, I should have been sad because they didn’t accept the incredible gift of grace. I should not have been too wrapped up in myself and “what I did wrong” to ignore these other things and pray that they would decide to follow Jesus some day in the future.

I think this is something that happens all too often, we want numbers, we want to see “the fruit”, we want to know that Jesus is moving in the lives of the people we’re preaching to, but sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes Jesus makes us wait. He makes us sit there and trust him to do the work. This kills us because we want to do it all by ourselves, we want control, we want to change hearts and minds and the world and do something incredibly significant but the truth is, we can’t. Only Jesus can. Sure, we can be the messengers and we can tell people about God’s grace until we’re blue in the face but only Jesus can change hearts, only Jesus can make someone believe and only Jesus can make someone raise their hand.

So stop beating yourself up while your waiting to see results. It seems that most things I learn come down to this one simple thing… Trust Jesus and know that He is good.

 

A Letter to the Baby Who Came Too Early

Dear Adalia,

Your due date is tomorrow but here you are.

Here you are alive and breathing when all the odds were against you. Here you are, you and your tiny legs, your nose that’s as big as my fingernail and your body that barely weighs anything.

Here you are, thriving.

There are so many things that I want you to know, that I want you to learn and that I want you to experience. But I know you will be taught all those things along the way because you are so loved. By your mother, your father, your brother, your two sisters and the rest of us who have not stopped praying for you since the day you were born. Oh, we love you so.

It’s strange to me that I could have so much love for someone I barely know.

So here’s what I want to tell you;

You are a fighter, Adalia. You’ve already proved that in these short three months you’ve lived. I pray that you never lose the fight in you, that you always stand up for what you believe in and that you always choose to be brave even when it’s hard.

You are a miracle. You were born on December 1, 2015 when you weren’t supposed to be born until March 3, 2016. If that’s not a shining example of the power of our God then I don’t know what is.

But you are not just a miracle because you’ve conquered the impossible odds you’ve faced, you’re a miracle because you are only three months old and already I see Jesus shining through you so brightly. I look at your face and immediately I see the work and majesty of Jesus and that makes you a million times more beautiful than you already are.

Adalia, I don’t know you very well yet and you don’t know me very well either and maybe we’ll never be best friends but I want you to know that I’ll never stop believing in you, I’ll never stop praying for you and I’ll never stop loving you.

So, sweet girl, welcome home and welcome to the rest of your beautiful life.

The Little Reminders

I’m realizing that this grace thing is never ending; I constantly need to be reminded and those reminders come in so many different, even crazy ways.

Sometimes I’m reminded through the peaceful way Jesus writes on my heart.

I will not shame you.

My grace is enough for you. 

Sometimes it’s just through stories I find in the Bible. Beautiful stories of people who have messed up big time, people who are similar to me and who have found grace and forgiveness in the same God I do.

But other times, reminders come from the most unexpected places. Like from a small church in a Peruvian city.

The past two weeks we’ve been staying in Urubamba which is a city that is about an hour away from Cusco, Peru. We’ve been staying at the Seminary here and last night we decided to attend their church.

This church is just a little hole in the wall. You could walk right past it and never know it was there but sitting in church last night, Jesus hit me in the face with his grace all over again.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t really paying attention to the guy preaching at the front of the church. Sometimes trying to follow a sermon in a foreign language when you’re not completely fluent in that language can be an extremely hard task that takes all of your energy and last night, I felt exhausted.

I was in my own little world, reading a completely different passage when I heard the pastor say these words,

“El justo murió por el injusto.”

The righteous died for the unrighteous.

The only perfect person to ever walk this earth died for the “bad” people, the murderers, the liars, the cheaters, me. He died for me.

I think this is a truth that will never cease to amaze me. It’s something that will keep me in complete awe and wonder of this man named Jesus who loves me.

It’s something that’ll keep hitting me square in the face, leaving me on my knees in worship and leave the words, “grace upon grace” ringing in my ear.

Tat blog